BEHIND THE SCENES.... THE MAKING OF A CHANTAL MALLETT CORSET
There are a lot of processes that go into some of Chantal Mallett's gown designs, most of them to do with the center piece of the design; the corset.
This montage storyboards the progress from start to finish in the making of Aurelia, one of the latest pieces to the collection. The Aurelia corset features many of the more time consuming hand processes involved in some of Chantal's designs, all of which Chantal does herself.
The making of a corset starts with a design. This main feature of this design was the lace work & the colours; Chantal knew she wanted apricot tones and images were gathered from online image resources via the Chantal Mallett Pinterest page to settle on the final palette. Seed beads were ordered from several suppliers that reflected the tones in the reference images for later use in hand beading the appliqued lace.
The source lace motifs were selected from a french lace with an all over repeated design which offers limited motifs to choose from. To achieve an organic, growing design of flora on the corset, the lace is sectioned up (sometimes down to one tiny flower) so that they can be re-arranged in a more natural way. This can take several days in the workroom to get to the point where the design looks balanced and attractive and once in their desired positions, the positions are documented so they can be replicated later on..
The painting is done, one corset panel at a time, until all the lace required to complete the project is done. The fabric paints Chantal has sourced work alot like watercolour & can be blended beautifully to achieve a very realistic look. She also draws from her knowledge of horticulture; which she has a keen interest in, having studied garden design.
The base corset was boned with a mixture of boning types. The top layer of silk crepe stitched together and silk tulle draped and pinned over the top as desired. Once the tulle was trimmed back and caught down so it lay flat by hand sewing with tiny pin prick stiches, the basic corset was tinted with apricot to add more light and shade to the folds of tulle and the lace motifs laid on and stiched down. Chantal then hand embellished, with seed beads, all the lace work and hand stiched the loops used to lace the back of the corset.
Each corset it then lined with silk and hand stiched closed so none of the structure can be seen.
The detachable straps were made of matching lace motifs and further embellished with jewellery techniques normally used in Chantal's accessory designs. Finally strings of pearl beads were added to create an elaborate web of tumbling straps, created to suggest a delicate capped sleeve inspired by jewellery.